It’s a different challenge for us. We’re going to have some guys that have played significant minutes at important times and they aren’t going to be playing as much. It’s going to be another challenge for us to deal with. —Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
MEMPHIS — With the Jazz being at full strength the last two games for the first time all season, playing time is becoming more scarce for some players and presenting coach Quin Snyder with a challenge of finding minutes for everyone.
“It’s a different challenge for us,” said Snyder. “We’re going to have some guys that have played significant minutes at important times and they aren’t going to be playing as much. It’s going to be another challenge for us to deal with.”
For example, with Hill back in the lineup, Shelvin Mack has gone from playing 25 to 30 minutes per night to around 15, while Dante Exum hasn’t even gotten of the bench for two games. Meanwhile, Raul Neto, a starter the majority of last season, isn’t even on the 13-man active list.
Then there’s Alec Burks, coming back from a year-long injury who is trying to find minutes at the wing position, where the Jazz have Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles and Joe Johnson. Burks is being brought along slowly with just 16 minutes of action total in the last five games, including just two Sunday night.
Still, Snyder isn’t worried the change in players’ minutes will hurt the team’s attitude.
“I think it’s good (having everyone back) and all the players would agree, but sometimes it’s going to be a little harder to find a rhythm,” he said. “Minutes aren’t always going to be quite as consistent, but then again hopefully we won’t be as fatigued and all those other things that come with that that are positive.”
TALKING TURNOVERS: The first question in the pre-game coach interview Sunday was asked by none other than Quin Snyder, who queried, “Does anyone want to ask about turnovers?” a question that came up a lot last year when the Jazz had a lot of high-turnover games.
Snyder then volunteered his own answer.
“Yeah, two in the second half,” he said. “It’s amazing when you get a guy like George Hill out there."
The Jazz finished with just 10 for the game against Minnesota after having 19 two nights before in a loss at Toronto.
However Sunday night it was a different story as the Jazz struggled again in the turnover department with 18 against Memphis.
WEATHER REPORT: The Jazz haven’t had great weather on this long road trip, but they’ve seemed to avoid the worst weather in each city on this trip.
They left New York and Boston before the recent big snowstorm hit the Northeast and got into Minneapolis just after the coldest days when it was below zero for a couple of days and were able to enjoy an 8-degree day. While it was cold in Memphis, high 20s, it had snowed a couple of inches earlier in the week. Also the Jazz party avoided some cold snowy weather in Salt Lake City during the eight days they were on the road.
JAZZ NOTES: This was Utah’s second five-game, nine-day road trip of the season. The Jazz have two three-game road trips in February and a four-gamer in March. The Jazz have three straight home games with Cleveland Tuesday night and rare back-to-back home games on the weekend with Detroit on Friday and Orlando on Saturday. The Grizzlies beat the Jazz 102-96 in Salt Lake in November, while the Jazz won in Memphis 82-73 in December. The Jazz and Grizzlies play their fourth and final game against each other at Vivint Arena on Jan. 28.